Fear Of Missing Out On The Free Stuff

We didn’t need the Covid-19 crisis to tell us that the supply of media available out there far outstrips our ability and time to engage with and absorb it.

Yet, for some reason, we’ve become acutely aware of this disturbing truth. It might have to do with many media outlets’ recent decision to make their material available for free during confinement. It might even have to do with convergence, with the fact that what used to be sprinkled around the web is now more easily discoverable, not least because we look for it more eagerly than before.

The end result? Consumption anxiety, FOMO or just a general sense of being overwhelmed.

There’s even that FOMOOTFS, the Fear-Of-Missing-Out-On-The-Free-Stuff. As walls have been going up around our houses and flats, paywalls have gone down for many media publishers.

Over the last four weeks, I’ve been offered free access to paid resources I once craved but couldn’t pull myself to push that dollar across. Now they’re just a click away, but it turns out my subjective FOMOOTFS collides with the objective constraints of time. So much stuff, so little time, and the offer keeps piling up.

Everyone is publicly hoping and praying for a quick end to this lockdown madness, but I know a few people, myself included, who are secretly hoping and praying that more time is given us to enjoy all these handouts. That’s because the paywalls are likely to go up once the other walls go down again.

So I’m adding another layer of anxiety to an already stuffed bag.

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